At Wesleyan I will be teaching courses on International Relations, Civil Wars and Armed Groups, and Strategic Dilemmas in Politics.
What explains conflict and cooperation in international security and economic relations? When do states work together for common goals, and when do they resort to violence, punishment, and passivity? When states (and non-state actors) disagree, who gets what they want and why? This course introduces the major questions, theories, and issues in international relations, as well as evidence we can use to evaluate them. Along the way, we will relate our theories and evidence to current issues, including: the war in Ukraine, immigration crises in Europe and the United States, the rise of China, the recent trade wars, and global climate summits.
Civil Wars and Armed Groups
Since 1945, five times as many people have died in conflicts within countries (between governments and rebels/militias) than in conflicts between countries. This course digs into the big questions about civil wars: Why do they begin? Who participates? How do they end, and why do some never end? How do combatants treat civilians, and why? Class will be primarily discussion-based, evaluating common answers to these questions, and the evidence behind them, from conflicts all over the world. Along the way, students will design their own research question and a strategy to answer it. The course is especially appropriate for sophomores and juniors who are potentially interested in writing a thesis, but relevant to any student interested in war and peace.
Strategic Dilemmas in Politics
Politics is full of strategic interactions: politicians and voters, enemies and allies, office-holders and bureaucrats. But while the details might be different from issue to issue, the challenges are often the same. How can a large group cooperate on a common goal? How can you make a promise or threat credible? How can you learn someone’s true intentions? This course uses in-class games and simulations to explore some of the key lessons that game theory can teach us about politics. There will be a bit of introductory game theory, but the focus will be on the intuition, not the method. The goal is to identify and analyze common strategic challenges in politics.
Brief Explainer Video on Civil Wars:
(For Prof. Lindsay Dolan’s International Relations course at Wesleyan University.)